Big Wind is a Big Deal in Burt County


I want to thank Jason Redding-Geu for addressing this issue for Burt County with his thoughtful article. It is complex and broad subject for sure and I wanted to be sure some additional considerations are mentioned with regard to the Wind discussion.

There are many voices in the County that are opposed to this project that hold very different views than my own and their voices should also be heard. The argument for the turbines are clearly stated and simple, while the concerns are broad and complex, everything from operational concerns (shadow, flicker, noise, vibration, flashing lights, etc) there are also construction concerns/impacts on infrastructures, property value impacts and decommissioning questions. Who pays for the infrastructure so that they can export the power from the county? We need to take a cautious approach to this type of development like we see in Gage County. This county is arguably the least fiscally sound County in the state, yet overwhelmingly approved the 1 –Mile setback in Zoning to lower the risk of these many and valid concerns.

I also wanted to clarify regarding ‘back taxes’, that my point was that businesses should all pay their fair share with adjustments only made through a public and transparent process. Proper assessment of property is important to ensure fairness and is the responsibility of County Officials. This often requires work and field surveys and not just using Google Earth.

I see very little discussion of this core issue of the turbine setback distance from another’s property. The cautious approach demands 1-Mile setbacks until more clarity can be achieved over the long term. I can tell you it is the majority position that 1 mile setbacks should be in play unless a particular property owner individually allows otherwise. County Officials supporting efforts that contravene the will of the people run the risk of voters hiring someone else to represent their interests through the election process. For County Supervisors, where you come down on this issue will stick to you for a very long time. The newspapers’ own unofficial survey showed 3-4 to 1 against the wind project and a written petition for citizens is in the process of being circulated because the overwhelmingly numbers against the project needs to be documented.

From that, I have bad news for both sides: Wind advocates will whine that such a rule kills the project, but I am not sure if I buy that. Reduce yes, but kill, I doubt it. If there’s no room, then there are no shortages of open ground in other areas of the state. On the other hand, the visual objection to wind must also be recognized as an opinion that does not hold statutory power. Not having to look at something is a preference because you can always look away. This is my opinion. However, the real and measurable negative impacts that are created seem to far outweigh the proposed fiscal boost.


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